Pep Guardiola has watched on as Jurgen Klopp and Zinedine Zidane won the Champions League (Image: GETTY)
Yaya Toure thinks Pep Guardiola should take a leaf out of Jurgen Klopp and Zinedine Zidane’s books to end Manchester City’s wait for Champions League glory.
Yaya Toure says Pep Guardiola would be facing the sack at Barcelona or Real Madrid after failing to win the Champions League for a third successive season. The former Manchester City and Barca star points out that landing Europe’s biggest prize was the whole reason why Guardiola was brought to the Etihad.
Now he is only hanging onto his job because City’s boardroom is less hostile than the continent’s other leading clubs.
“Maybe if it was Barcelona or maybe Real Madrid, for sure he’s going to be in trouble,” Toure said. “We don’t have to be in any doubt that he has been brought to City to win the Champions League.
“Now people are finding a way to say he’s coming just for the league or for anything. But you cannot lie about that because the budget the club have been giving to him year after year, he needs to have the trophy. He needed to have it. When you bring in a manager of this calibre he needs to have results.”
Guardiola, whose contract expires next summer, was courted for years by City before he was appointed after he was identified as the best man to take them to the next level.
“Of course, Pep’s good but people are going to demand a bit more from him because of what they give to him,” said Toure. “The expectations are going to be high.
“There’s not any club in the world like City can spend millions of pounds on players – young players and quality players are expensive.
“When you get these things, you have to give the trophy to the club. I don’t know what the board are thinking, it’s them that is going to make this kind of decision. I know City, they can have whatever manager they want because everybody knows they got the money to do it.”
Toure says if Guardiola wants to win the Champions League he has got to be sure he has won his dressing room first – just like Jurgen Klopp or Zinedine Zidane.
The Ivorian says the game has changed after he played for Guardiola in the days when it was tactics that won matches.
As a result, Toure found himself in Greenwich on Wednesday night at a Hotels.com “Dream Screen” drive-in showing of a Champions League semi-final between Bayern Munich and Lyon.
It was supposed to his former clubs Barcelona and City, of course.
The repercussions of the Spanish side’s exit were already being felt. Director of football Eric Abidal gone; manager Quique Setien following swiftly after – both victims of a dressing room coup.
At City, the finger was pointed at Guardiola’s approach to the Lyon game – but Toure fears the problems may lay deeper.
“To be honest, these days what happens is all about man-management,” he said. “You have to feel the players want to play for you.
“So many players don’t want to play with you then in a few weeks maybe the manager is going to be sacked. The player needs the confidence of the his manager and the manager needs his players as well.
“For me, as a player, I always believe if you have to give 100 per cent then you have to give 100 per cent to the right person and the person who deserves my sacrifice.
“You cannot do things for people now if there’s no confidence or trust and it’s quite hard. The players have to be with the manager.”
Which is why Toure gives so much credit to those who make modern management look so simple – winners of the last four Champions League trophies, for example.
“I’m a big fan of Klopp and I love Zidane as well,” Toure said. “As managers, they’re great, no one can deny that. When my brother was at Liverpool, he was happy and always had a good feeling. He would say, ‘Klopp is fantastic and if you want to be a manager then work with this guy and you will achieve a lot.’
“When he grab his players after the game, the players have a lot for him and want to work for him. When you see Liverpool now, they are like a machine. They don’t play beautiful football like City but when they need to attack they attack, when they need to defend, they defend.”
Toure himself became the highest earning player on the planet when he was brought to the Etihad in 2010 to end a four-decade wait for the title. He lifted three Premier League titles in his eight years at the club.
“There was a lot of pressure on me to be honest,” Toure said. “It was sometimes very vocal and the important persons of the club called me and said I need to deliver.
“’We need to win the trophies! We have to do this!’ It was hard. Week in, week out when you’re playing with this pressure on your mind, it was fairly intense. As a manager it’s different.”
And if Guardiola fails again in the final year of his contract? Toure’s choice of understatement is splendidly malevolent.
“If you have the support of the board, the board is behind you and gives you everything when you want it,” Toure said, “when you don’t deliver it is quite complicated…”